Sunday, October 15, 2017

Now on Netflix: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017) - Written and Directed by Noah Baumbach; Starring Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Grace Van Patten, Elizabeth Marvel, Judd Hirsch, Rebecca Miller.

By Kenny Howell

The job of depicting horrible people is always tricky.

There is a fine line you need to walk where they aren't too terrible, and entertaining (or funny) enough to make you forget.

Noah Baumbach (While We're Young) has walked that line before, and for the most part has had success. Here he jumps into the Meyerowitz family, the patriarch being an artist and academic named Harold played by Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate). He has never quite achieved the success that he thinks he deserved, and in his old age has become bitter and combative, which his family has to deal with when they actually visit him.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Movie Review: It Comes at Night (2017)

It Comes at Night (2017) - Written and Directed by Trey Edward Shults; Starring Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr.

By Kenny Howell

For people who saw Trey Edward Shults last film Krisha, it is not surprising that he had the ability to make a horror or thriller film.

That was a drama about a woman on the edge the entire film as she navigates a family visit that brings up some past demons. It made you as a viewer feel on edge as well, and he uses those skills in It Comes at Night to tell the story of a family trying to survive a mysterious disease that is wiping out huge chunks of the population.

Paul, played by Joel Edgerton (Loving), is trying to keep his family from that demise. He has very strict rules wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), but that is threatened when a man shows up one night in their house. He is Will (Christopher Abbott), and his family is in a house quite a distance away. They need food, and they have water to trade for it. Paul reluctantly welcomes him and his family in, but that addition threatens the stability Paul has tried so hard to maintain.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Now on Amazon Prime: The Americans, Season 5 (2017)

The Americans, Season 5 (2017) - Created by Joseph Weisberg; Starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Noah Emmerich, Costa Ronin, Margo Martindale.

By Kenny Howell

The end is near for the Soviet Union, and for Philip and Elizabeth's time as spies in this fifth, penultimate season for the great FX show.

Unfortunately for the series, which has been stellar over four seasons, this season is more of a slow burn, setting up what is going to happen in the sixth and final season.

Nearly everyone in the family are at their breaking point. Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) have grown tired of the life, and the next step is uncertain. Paige (Holly Taylor) sees her mom kill two men that were planning to attack them, and she becomes intrigued by the power. She starts training with her mom to learn to take care of herself. The ever forgotten Henry (Keidrich Sellati) also has a chance to take a big step for him educationally, but it might be a threat to where the family is headed. Outside of the family, Oleg (Costa Ronin) faces pressure as he is now back in Russia, and Stan (Noah Emmerich) is prepared for a change in his life as well.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Marvel Master Reading Order, Part 1

By Kenny Howell
I have embarked on a new adventure. 

I was having trouble figuring out what to read next when it comes to Marvel comics. I wasn't really buying new stuff, mostly because after 11 years of working in newspapers, they decided they were done with me, and I am out of work right now. However, I still have my Marvel Unlimited membership because, you know, priorities. 

So I searched out Marvel comics reading orders. There are plenty of good ones out there like Comic Book Herald, but I landed on the aptly named They have a master reading list, which, in a way, tells the Marvel story chronologically through thousands of comics, all of which have been on Marvel Unlimited so far. 

Part 1 is obviously the beginning. While you would think it would start with Fantastic Four, Amazing Fantasy, etc., it does not. It has the origins of many characters, some of which have been told very recently. It starts with Thor: Son of Asgard, which came out in 2004. 

I am not sure how long I will stick with this because my attention span rivals that of my 4-year-old, but as long as I do, I would give you my thoughts on five series at a time as I work through it. It will be just quick analysis, longer if it is deserved. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

TV Review: Review, Season 3 (2017)

Review, Season 3 (2017) - Created by Jeffrey Blitz, Andrew Daly, Charlie Siskel; Starring Andrew Daly, Jessica St. Clair, Megan Stevenson, James Urbaniak.

By Kenny Howell

Comedy Central brought one of its better shows, Andy Daly's very funny comedy Review, to an unceremonious end earlier this year.

Daly's tour de force was given just three episodes in its final season, which supposedly was a mutual agreement. So it's hard to even review Review on just three half hour episodes. It's just as good as it always was, mostly because of Daly himself. There just isn't that much there to talk about.

For those who are new to it, Daly plays a willful idiot named Forrest McNeil who hosts a show called Review where he reviews life experiences, such as what is it like to have your dream come true, and what's it like to be Helen Keller.

Movie Review: It (2017)

It (2017) - Directed by Andy Muschietti; Written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman; Starring Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgard

By Kenny Howell

There has always been a stigma that Stephen King books, especially the horror ones, are hard to adapt.

King is a master at telling a story and creating mood with his words, which doesn't always translate on screen. His novels, sometimes, at face value, are a bit silly, but King is able to sell it really well. That has resulted in some good films based off his work, the ones that are able to establish a tone, but also some really, really bad ones.

Luckily, It belongs in the first category. It is structurally flawed, but scary and fun, which is really all you are looking for here. I am not sure that director Andy Muschietti truly establishes a consistent tone throughout, partially because of how the script is put together, but he hits the high notes of the first part of the novel, which is one of the rougher King stories. I mean, the first scene of the film is a 6-year-old getting his arm bitten off by a clown in the sewer.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Now on HBO: Game of Thrones, Season 7 (2017)

Game of Thrones, Season 7 (2017) - Created by David Benioff, D.B. Weiss; Starring Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harrington, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

By Kenny Howell  

For the first three seasons of Game of Thrones, the show balanced the political power struggles with some of its patented craziness and a lot of fun.

Then Joffrey died. My favorite character by far was the highlight of the show for me, despite great work by several cast members. After he died, the show lost some of that fun it had, and it seemed to cover up the fact that some episodes was just endless talking with one cool, horribly violent scene that would get people talking on Twitter. It was still good, but it seemed to take itself, a TV show about dragons, a bit too seriously.